Nanobody Production

We have the Alpacas. We can make Nanobodies® for you.

About the Nanobody Project

Single domain antibodies (nanobodies) are increasingly becoming popular as reagents for research, for use as therapeutics, and as reagents for diagnostics. This is due, in large part, to their small size, stability, high affinity, high specificity, ease of manipulation, and ease of production.

Through resources provided by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the University of Kentucky’s COBRE Protein Core is now producing these single domain antibodies in alpacas for investigators as part of their fee for service structure. To generate the nanobodies, our facility immunizes alpacas with your protein of interest, amplifies the pool of nanobody cDNAs by PCR, and generates a phagemid library, which is screened by panning. All positive clones are sequenced. The nanobodies produced are purified from E. coli and confirmed to bind to your antigen. Using this protocol we have had 100% success rates. In many cases, the core can produce your protein of interest by expressing it in E. coli, insect cells, or yeast.

We are now taking orders for producing nanobodies starting in November 2018. The cost for successful nanobody production is $8,000 per nanobody for academic investigators, however, the cost for UK researchers is $3,000 per protein antigen. To produce a Nanobody to your protein, we will need ~3 mg of purified protein in PBS or HBS. There is a $250 non-refundable setup fee, which will be deducted from the final charge. We will deliver 1 mg of your purified and validated nanobody within ~3-4 months. We will also ship you a sequenced bacterial expression vector that can be used for further nanobody production. Typically we identify additional nanobodies for your protein, these can be purchased for a nominal cost. In addition to your nanobody, a range of derivatives and conjugates are available. For our services and pricing see our website listed below.

To request a nanobody produced to your protein, please fill out and return the nanobody request form and return via email to Christy Maddox ( by October 19th, or contact Lou Hersh at We will need your protein for nanobody production by October 26th, 2018.

In addition to our producing alpaca derived specific nanobodies, we have had a number of requests for nanobody cDNA libraries. In response to these requests, we are now offering cDNA libraries produced from our alpacas immunized with you antigen and sent to you packaged in a plasmid vector. This library offers a low-cost method for investigators to isolate nanobodies of interest in their own laboratory without their having to immunize alpacas. This no-guarantee service will be offered at $1,200 per antigen for UK investigators. Our guaranteed full-service nanobody product service is available to UK researchers for $3,000.

For producing the cDNA library we require 1 mg of your purified protein by October 26, 2018.

For full nanobody production, we require 3 mg of your purified protein by October 26, 2018.

Since there are a limited number of antigens we can inject into our alpacas, interested investigators should contact Lou Hersh ( or Martin Chow (

Apply to Core


Suggested reading for nanobodies and their potential uses.

Exploiting Nanobodies' Singular Traits. Ingram JR, Schmidt FI, Ploegh HL. Annu Rev Immunol. 2018 Feb 28.

Reporter-nanobody fusions (RANbodies) as versatile, small, sensitive immunohistochemical reagents. Yamagata M, Sanes JR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Feb 27;115(9):2126-2131.

Editorial: Single-Domain Antibodies-Biology, Engineering and Emerging Applications. Henry KA, MacKenzie CR. Front Immunol. 2018 Jan 23;9:41.

Nanobodies as novel agents for cancer therapy. Revets H, De Baetselier P, Muyldermans S. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2005 Jan;5(1):111-24. Review

Nanobodies and their potential applications. Hassanzadeh-Ghassabeh G, Devoogdt N, De Pauw P, Vincke C, Muyldermans S.  Nanomedicine (Lond). 2013 Jun;8(6):1013-26.